The Dake Group recently had the pleasure of attending the 16th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit. The conference took place in New York from the 30th of January to 1 February 2013 and hosted delegates and dignitaries from all over the world. President Clinton was among a plethora of luminaries, politicians, and businessmen who gathered for Reverend Jesse Jackson’s three-day summit which ran at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan from January 30th through February 1st. Those in attendance, a veritable Who’s-Who of the African-American corps d’elite, included former New York Governor David Paterson, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Reverend Al Sharpton, fund manager John W. Rogers, Jr., real estate mogul R. Donahue Peebles, Motown founder Berry Gordy, and attorney Willie E. Gary, among others.

The Wall Street Project was founded in 1996 by Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., and the Citizenship Education Fund, and officially launched by Rev. Jesse Jackson and prominent minority business owners on January 15, 1997, Dr. King’s birthday. The Project is represented by satellite or bureau offices (New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, East Palo Alto, Houston and Washington, D.C.), each representing the competency centre for one or more of the industry spokes the organization focuses on: financial services, public policy, telecommunications, automotive, energy, advertising, international affairs, food services, insurance, entertainment, manufacturing, and information technology.

Chandra Dake and Ramesh Kumar had the privilege to engage with panellists on Thursday, 31 January during a Panel Discussion “Doing Business in Africa” – This session focused on Africa as an attractive business environment. The panel discussed Africa’s tremendous business opportunities not only in oil, gas and natural resources, but also in areas such as energy, telecommunications, technology, entertainment, construction, financial services, and tourism.  Mr Chandra Dake, Executive Chairman of the Dake Group provided insight into the group’s latest community and social upliftment initiatives that includes ICT, Renewable Energy as well as Agriculture initiatives within South Africa.

The Panel also included other influential South Africans including Patrick Dlamini, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Development Bank of Southern Africa; Hon. Dr. Zweli Lawrence Mkhize, The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal; Obed Mlaba, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal; Thato Tsautse, President, Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Mr Dake and Mr Kumar also had the privilege of attending the Nasdaq Bell Ringing on the 31st of January 2013 – an honour that very few people would get to experience.

The Wall Street Project challenges corporate America to end the multi-billion dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers and works to assure equal opportunity for diverse employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers. The Project uses Operation Breadbasket’s model of research, education and negotiation and reconciliation to achieve its mission to promote inclusion, opportunity and economic growth by encouraging public and private industries to:

  • Improve hiring, promotion and retention practices
  • Name more minorities to corporate boards
  • Allocate more capital to minority companies
  • Promote intra-trade relationships among diverse businesses
  • Increase funding for educational scholarships, and voter registration education
  • Increase financial literacy in minority and/or underserved communities through the work of the One Thousand Churches Connected program

Representatives from the Dake Group enjoyed the Conference and will continue to create lasting relationships with the delegates met during this trip.

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